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Topic: Moist Desquamation After Radiation

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After —

What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Nov 20, 2017 09:47PM

Nickel103 wrote:

I am 3 weeks post radiation treatment today (25 sessions). For two weeks my peeling has been turning into these patches of oozing missing skin. I have been using the silvadine cream and am keeping the trouble areas (on breast and armpit now) covered with non adhesive pads all day.

Does anyone have any insight into how common this is? Or how long it will take to finally heal? I feel like my radiation oncologist did not even mention this as a possible side effect, and it seems like most women just have peeling without moist desquamation. So I'm pretty shocked that this is happening and am surprised by how extensive the affected area is. Any insights appreciated!

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Nov 21, 2017 12:11AM runor wrote:

Not sure if mine was the same..but my skin would get a little blister. THat blister would get bigger and bigger and soon the skin would look like a balloon that has been over-inflated. It would peel off leaving raw, weepy, very sensitive skin below. It was ugly, it was painful and it smelled bad! The smell under my boob, in the fold, where no air or sunlight gets .... it was bad. How could it not be? Dead flesh!

Every night when I took my bra off, yikes, the weepy flesh would weld itself to my bra and there was ripping of flesh. I was NOT a happy camper.

every night I sprayed my boob with salt water. This is what they told me to do at the clinic. Anything else I put on, including aloe, burned like the dickens. Tried emu oil. Burned. Salt water in a spray bottle was all I could tolerate. Have no idea what good it did, if any. But I would spritz on a light mist of salt water each night and let it dry.

To stop the sticking I found an old tube of diaper cream (Zincofax), slathered a thick layer on a piece of gauze and stuck that gooey surface against my under-boob raw flesh. It stopped my bra from sticking to me. It did not burn. But it will never wash out of my bra!

Sorry this is happening to you. It was pretty miserable those two weeks after radiation was finally done. Now it's lymphedema and ongoing pain. Joy.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/5/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 21, 2017 01:27AM AmusingSoprano wrote:

I get so angry when I see women like yourself having to suffer through this when there is a solution that works for most women. I know it won't help you now Nickel, but for anyone else reading this thread please look into the use of Mepitel film. This treatment was developed by the RO who did my breast care during rads so I was in excellent hands. I had slight reddening of the skin and that was all. All women at my hospital are treated with the film, which stays on from the moment you start rads till about 7-10 days afterwards. We also use cold cloth compresses 3-4 times per day.

This is the University press release: https://www.southerndhb.govt.nz/news/media-releases/breakthrough-helps-breast-cancer-patients/

This is the PubMed abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24486117

This is the Honours thesis that my RO wrote on the original trial:


I am happy to answer any questions about it and if there's anything I'm not sure of, I can ask the RO directly.

Dx: 08/04/16, DCIS Grade 3, comedonecrosis. Lumpectomy (left) 08/16/16, Re-excision 09/06/16 Dx 8/4/2016, DCIS, Left, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes Surgery 8/16/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 9/6/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 10/25/2016
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Nov 26, 2017 10:18PM - edited Dec 8, 2017 06:57AM by DodgersGirl

Nickel103-- you sure described where I am now. Last week, I was getting seen by the skin care nurse after rads because the area in my armpit was weepy and smelled so bad that it made me want to pass out when changing clothes. She would clean the area and apply aquaphor and Radiagar then apply Tefla pads to cover the area. I was getting thru that fairly well, minor pain.. then we had a 4 day break for Thanksgiving. These 4 days have been the worst times of any of my treatments. The weepy/oozing area is much larger. It smells awful (dead skin) and really hurts. We have been applying the stuff like the nurse at home. Everything I wear gets soaked and smells. Thursday morning i took off the Cool Magic pad that the nurse had applied and pulled off skin which caused me to bleed - thought I was going to spend Thanksgiving in the ER

I have 4 more rads to go and don't know how I am going to get through them plus the 2 weeks after

I hate the oozing and the smell and hate worrying about pulling off new skin.

/end of my rant.

Updates: 1 week after rads and the weepy/oozy part has healed. Almost all new skin and no old skin coming off. Down to 3 small spots that are still healing but also much better!!

Dx 3/10/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/5/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/11/2017 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/23/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Feb 15, 2018 01:17PM Nickel103 wrote:

sorry I have not written back in a while. Update - it took nearly 3 months for total healing where I could discontinue use of silvadine cream and telfa. Unreal! I’m most upset that my radiAtion oncologist at MsK never indicated it could go on so long. As a patient I really like to know what to expect ahead of time, and was really disappointed my medical team let me down here. Hope you ladies are all past oozy-skin now!

I really wish I had heard of that film prior to my treatment. Hope it becomes standard of care soon.

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Feb 15, 2018 02:08PM DodgersGirl wrote:

Nickel103– so sorry that it took 3 months for your skin to heal. Glad you are better now!

I think my RO knew my skin would break down and knew they would treat it when it happened so didn’t give me all the details in advance as there was nothing I could do to prevent it. I think the treatment I received (bolus) was supposed to kill the outer layers of my skin taking any lose cancer cells with it and then grow back new non-cancer skin. It was an unpleasant few weeks for sure. Glad it’s in the past and hope the treatment worked and cancer doesn’t return

Dx 3/10/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/5/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/11/2017 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/23/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 14, 2018 12:28PM Walden1 wrote:

I’m starting radiation soon and would like to use Mepitel. The hospital doesn’t oppose it but doesn’t administer it either, so I will need to teach myself how to apply it and use it correctly. Are you aware of anything on line that I could refer to?

Dx 12/28/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/10/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/2/2018 Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin)
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Oct 27, 2019 06:03PM seawell wrote:

Hello fellow breast cancer warriors...so grateful I just found this forum. I'm 9 days post radiation following lumpectomy and 4 rounds of TC. I made it thru 20 doses of radiation but 2 days later all hell broke loose. I have large breasts so underneath and under my arm are a hot mess. I used avocado based cream 3 times daily during treatment and my doctor said my skin looked great. I guess I had a delayed reaction but am grateful it didn't interrupt treatment. The pain is bad.... but the smell has me the most concerned and feeling disgusting so I'm relieved to hear others mention it as part of the process. I've been searching the internet for days to try and find out if that was normal. I'm still using the avocado cream twice daily and my doctor told me to soak with Domeboro 3 times daily for a week. I'm also somewhat disappointed at the lack of support from him though. I wasn't prepared for this. Once you finish treatment, that daily support goes away making this a challenge. Glad I found this group.

Dx 3/2019, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Oct 27, 2019 07:42PM TB90 wrote:

It is very typical for the worst symptoms to occur two weeks post radiation. But it improves quickly after that. You are probably at the worst and it will only get better. Aloe Vera, pure, gel, worked the very best for me. You may need an Advil too. I felt like I had a very bad sunburn. And the worst was that I went back to work for the worst of it! Each day may be an improvement for you now and congratulations for getting through this.

Dx 11/28/2013, DCIS, Grade 2 Surgery 12/18/2013 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/20/2014 Breast
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Oct 27, 2019 08:25PM Moderators wrote:

Dear seawall,

Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry for what brings you here but so glad that you reached out for support and helpful information. We hope that you get relief and that you stay active here and get connected to other members who share your experiences. Keep us posted and let us know how things go for you.

The Mods

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Oct 27, 2019 08:46PM DodgersGirl wrote:

seawell, for me the skin breakdown was the worst SE I had to endure. Hope your recover quickly. I had to cover the “mess” with a cream from my RO mixed with aquaphor and cover that mess with tefla pads to protect it and my clothes. Did this for a couple of weeks while new skin grew in. Now that part is just a memory and regular skin is all I s

Dx 3/10/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/5/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/11/2017 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/23/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Oct 27, 2019 09:27PM seawell wrote:

Thank you ladies. I so appreciate the reassurance. 💕

Dx 3/2019, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Oct 27, 2019 10:21PM Whatjusthappened wrote:

I had some nasty desquamation reactions, especially from the 8 bolus treatments I received at the end. It did smell bad. My RO's office gave me xeroform pads that I changed out a couple of times a day. The worst of it healed up after a couple of weeks. I still have a small spot on my collar bone that hasn't healed up four months out. We're keeping an eye on that. I hope you have seen the worst of it and heal up soon!

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)

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